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JD Notae scores 21 as No. 4 Arkansas stuns top-seed Gonzaga

Sportsnaut
Mar 24, 2022; San Francisco, CA, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks guard Au'Diese Toney (5) grabs a rebound against Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Julian Strawther (0) during the first half in the semifinals of the West regional of the men's college basketball NCAA Tournament at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

JD Notae recorded 21 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals to lead fourth-seeded Arkansas to a solid 74-68 upset of top-seeded Gonzaga on Thursday night in the West Regional Sweet 16 contest at San Francisco.

Jaylin Williams added 15 points and 12 rebounds and Trey Wade had 15 points and seven rebounds as the Razorbacks (28-8) advanced to the Elite Eight for the second straight season. Arkansas will face either second-seeded Duke or third-seeded Texas Tech in Saturday’s regional final.

Drew Timme registered 25 points and seven rebounds and Julian Strawther had 12 points for the Bulldogs (28-4), who played in the Sweet 16 for the seventh straight NCAA Tournament. Chet Holmgren contributed 11 points and 14 rebounds before fouling out with 3:29 left. All of Holmgren’s points came during the second half.

Gonzaga trailed by as many as nine in the second half but pulled within 66-62 on Andrew Nembhard’s two free throws with 1:27 remaining.

The Bulldogs didn’t score again until Nembhard made a 3-pointer to cut Arkansas’ lead to 68-65 with 16.5 seconds left. But Chris Lykes made two free throws with 15.8 seconds to play and Davonte Davis added two with 8.1 seconds left as the Razorbacks took a seven-point edge en route to closing it out.

Gonzaga shot just 37.5 percent from the field, including 5 of 21 from 3-point range. The Bulldogs committed 15 turnovers to the Razorbacks’ eight.

Arkansas connected on 40.3 percent of its shots and was 7 of 25 from behind the arc.

Notae knocked down a 3-pointer to give the Razorbacks a 43-38 advantage with 14:33 left in the game.

Holmgren scored back-to-back baskets to pull Gonzaga within one before Arkansas scored six of the next seven points to take a 49-43 lead on Williams’ basket with 10:15 left.

Holmgren picked up his fourth foul with 8:36 left when Au’Diese Toney converted a three-point play to again give the Razorbacks a six-point lead. Williams followed with a hoop 43 seconds later to boost the Arkansas lead to 54-46.

Holmgren returned to the game with 6:46 left and the Bulldogs down six. Eight seconds later, Notae drained a 3-pointer to give the Razorbacks a 59-50 lead.

Holmgren fouled out while contesting Notae, who split the two free throws to give Arkansas a 63-56 lead.

A short time later, Wade drilled a corner 3-pointer to give the Razorbacks a 66-58 advantage with 2:08 to play.

Notae scored 10 first-half points as the Razorbacks led 32-29 at the break.

–Field Level Media